The Dos and Don’ts of Writing Queer Antagonists
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it. How do you write an antagonist with a marginalized identity without vilifying everyone with that identity?
DO make it clear that your antagonist’s sexuality/gender identity isn’t what makes them a bad person.
DO create complex characters who are more than a collection of stereotypes, and have clear motivations and reasoning that makes sense in the context of your story.
DO contrast characters with that identity, e.g. one “good” or “neutral” gay character when you have a gay character that’s “bad.” You don’t want to reinforce the “straight = good / gay = evil” stereotype.
DON’T have that character represent every person of that identity.
DON’T rely on stereotypes or used “queer coding” to make it clear that your character is the villain.
DON’T have other characters use your antagonist’s marginalized identity as a scapegoat or a reason for their actions.
DON’T weaponize queerness. Unwanted sexual advances toward your protagonist might seem like an interesting twist, but really it just reinforces the harmful idea that queerness is “perverse” and “dangerous.”
DON’T “code” queerness into your villain without making it explicitly clear that they are queer.
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